‘The Construction Industry Culture Standard seeks to support a construction industry where everyone has a place and feels valued. This is consistent with the principles of equal employment opportunities and anti-discrimination
In Australia, there are federal, state and territory laws to protect people from discrimination and harassment in the workplace and access to equal employment opportunities.
These laws place obligations on employers which may differ from state to state. The Culture Standard does not seek to override or duplicate these laws.
Employers in the construction industry should ensure they are aware of and comply with their obligations under any applicable state and federal legislation.’
Our industry has never been more important. As the third-largest industry in Australia, construction employs 1.2 million people and will need to fill an additional 105,000 jobs by 2023.
Construction is critical to delivering the nearly $225 billion in investment in major public infrastructure over the next four years, and central to Australia’s economic recovery from coronavirus. (Culture in Construction 2022)
‘Culture in Construction’ is an initiative of the Construction Industry Culture Taskforce (CICT) -comprising the Australian Constructors Association, representing the nation’s largest construction firms, the Governments of New South Wales and Victoria and Australia’s leading workplace researchers.
So, the question to be asked as we tumble headlong into 2023, is…
’Does the Culture Standard Cut it…especially in relation to mental health at work?’
Where do we start to address this question?
We could do a lot worse than reference what I regard as one of the most complete digests on Mental Health in the Workplace: ‘YES you can talk about mental health at work – here’s why (and how to do it really well)’ by Melissa Doman, 2021.
To quote Ricklyn Woods: ‘This revolutionary book removes the guesswork and minimises the uncomfortable conversations about mental health at work. Melissa leverages her clinical expertise and research-based evidence to provide practical guidance for creating psychologically safe workplaces. After reading this book I felt informed and empowered.‘
According to my Kindle device, the book takes just over 3 hours to read. In my mind the most rewarding 3 hours I have spent in recent times. Once read, lights come on…literally!
Melissa has cleverly constructed the book in three parts: ‘The Why’; ‘The How’; and ‘Workplace Mental Health during tough times’ (including the ongoing impact of Covid 19).
Even if you can’t find 3 hours to address ‘The Elephant’ in your Organisation, Melissa includes ‘Chapter Summaries’ to whet the appetite.
So, what is my take on the question having read Melissa’s book?
Well, we have made a good start; we’ve gained some traction; then as with all good intentions, we’ve allowed ourselves to be distracted by other events, and ‘others’ priorities!
In Melissa’s introductory prologue she acknowledges that she ‘started to notice a shift; from 2016 onwards, slowly, but surely – and in different ways around the world – the light bulb switched on. People were finally talking about mental health, and even their experiences at work. I was ecstatic to be able to talk about the subject – openly – to employers. I could actually talk about mental health at work and say the actual words “mental health” in the workplace!’
Read the book, then make up your own mind as to whether the Construction Industry Culture Standard actually does cut it!
As Melissa concludes: ‘What will your impact be? You’re not a grain of sand in an ocean – you’re a rock being thrown into a lake. You will make ripples! Even though you are just one person, what you do affects people around you…more than you know!’
Should you, or someone you know, be showing signs of needing psychological support, such as anxiety, then please do contact the following Organisations:
- Mates in Construction 1300 22 4636
- Lifeline 13 11 14
- BeyondBlue 1800 512 348